CultureNL presses ahead with closure plans

Mossend Senior Citizens' Centre
Mossend Senior Citizens' Centre

CultureNL is pressing ahead with its plans to close community facilities and libraries following a public consultation.

Seven community facilities, four libraries and two mobile libraries will shut including Mossend Senior Citizens’ Centre, a pensioners’ meeting room in Watson Street, Motherwell and the libraries in Newarthill and Craigneuk to save £1.5 million.

A public consultation attracted around 1,500 responses, but while CultureNL chairwoman Heather McVey believed the public’s input was “extremely useful”, the author of a report into the exercise was unhappy no proposals were made to make up the shortfall.

It read: “Despite the wide range of submissions received no alternative income/funding models were submitted during the consultation process that would enable CultureNL to retain current provision in the four libraries, two mobile libraries and seven community centres where CultureNL is proposing to remove the service.”

However, Councillor McVey stated there was still a chance that some facilities could be transferred to community ownership.

She said: “The council was faced with difficult choices following cuts to its budgets which meant that services across the board had to make savings. In CultureNL’s case, that means a reduction of £1.5 million.

“We understood that some people would be unhappy that we would have to stop providing services in some of our much-loved but little-used facilities. That is why it was essential we gathered views about how these services should look in the future, and just as importantly, planned to respond positively to those views.

“I think this is a substantial response to the issues people raised with us and shows that we recognise the importance of what happens next, Additionally, a number of people raised the possibility of transferring assets to community groups and I will ensure this is looked at seriously by the council.”

Mossend SNP which ran a campaign to save the Senior Citizens’ Centre is disappointed CultureNL could not be persuaded to change its mind.

Secretary Marie Keeper said: “CultureNL has decided to ignore local opinion and close the centre having neglected to advertise and promote it is actually a community hall leading to its closure.

“Mossend SNP is meeting this week to discuss the next step and the way forward from here. The views of local people will not be ignored and we will continue to do all we can to protect our community centre’s future.”

There will also be changes to the opening hours of several other libraries including Motherwell, Bellshill, New Stevenston and Cleland.

Motherwell will now close at 5pm on Friday, Bellshill will close at 5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and New Stevenston and Cleland will open from 2-7pm on a Thursday.